The dress, the tux, the rules -- reactions to new NYS prom guidelines

The dress...the tux....the rules. New York State is out with prom guidance, and it dictates students' behavior from the minute they walk in the door of the milestone high school dances

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 5:59 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2021 6:07 PM

The dress...the tux....the rules. New York State is out with prom guidance, and it dictates students' behavior from the minute they walk in the door of the milestone high school dances; everything from how long they stand, and why, to who they dance with.

Among the guidelines, attendees should only be standing when necessary, for example, to enter or exit the event, use the restroom or use the buffet. Attendees may dance with members of their own party, socially distanced from others. Prom goers also cannot congregate, except for when seated at their own table. Masks must be worn. The guidance says organizers of the event should ensure compliance. But...who are the organizers?

"If the school's hosting something on its own outside, I would think they'd have the majority of control. If you're going to someplace to try and host an event, then certainly you're collaborating with somebody else," says Dr. Patricia Kilburn, Ph.D, OHM BOCES District Superintendent. "It doesn't look like it will be easy. It certainly looks like it's going to be complex."

Girls usually start dress shopping in January. But with guidance only out this week, they are three months behind.

"Inventories across the board are a lot different than what they normally are so I'm encouraging the girls, if your schools have announced, get in, get a dress get it fitted, get that stuff done now because you're basically fitting four and a half months of prom into six weeks," says Denise Houck, owner of The Princess Shop.

Whitesboro is exploring venue options that will be most conducive to a memorable prom and ball.

"We're looking at everything. We're looking at the possibility of having some of these events outside because it does allow us to increase capacity. We also have a venue right now that might be able to do inside and outside for us right now," says David Russo, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Accountability. Mostly, Russo is just happy the dances will happen.

"I think looking at what happened last year and having to cancel so many events, right now we're just so happy that we're allowed to have a prom or a ball or end of the year ceremonies," says Russo.

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